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No positive tests at Tour de France, says UCI president

CORK, Ireland (Reuters) - UCI president Pat McQuaid said on Sunday there had been no positive dope tests at this year’s Tour de France and looked to a drugs-free race being the future pattern.

McQuaid told Reuters: “At this point in time I haven’t heard of any positive tests at this year’s Tour de France or that we’re checking samples to confirm positives.

“It’s looking like the Tour de France will not have any positive tests for a number of years. I think that’s a big step forward for cycling.”

Men’s professional cycling has been blighted by doping scandals in recent years as blood and urine tests caught out riders using the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).

Last year cycling became the first sport to introduce a revolutionary blood passport system that monitors athletes’ blood values rather than looking for a specific drug.

“It’s been a difficult moment for cycling because of the doping scandals but I think we’re coming out of it and going into a good period,” McQuaid said.

This year’s Tour de France was won by Spain’s Alberto Contador with seven-times winner Lance Armstrong finishing third after coming out of retirement.

McQuaid was speaking to Reuters at the Tour of Ireland where Armstrong rode the last race of his comeback season, pulling out on the last day.

Editing by Dave Thompson